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New Jersey is home to dozens of public and private colleges and universities that provide the kind of employer-driven education and training businesses need. Students can pursue a variety of courses and degrees that align with both the industry specific technical skills and the soft skills all employers value – like responsibility, teamwork, communications and creative thinking. With additional employer involvement, students can be even better prepared to meet industry needs. 

What are the types of partnerships colleges and universities have to offer?

There are numerous partnership opportunities that can be found in various academic disciplines at New Jersey’s four-year colleges and universities. Below are the most common examples: 

  • Research, Internship and Co-Op Experiences provide students an opportunity to try out a job overseen by an experienced professional in the field. These opportunities vary in time commitment to meet the needs of businesses and students.   
  • College and University Sponsored Career Fairs provide students with priceless opportunities to network with various businesses to shape their future careers. These career fairs are also beneficial for businesses to meet local talented students who can join their team. Some career fairs can have hundreds of  businesses and attract thousands of students. 
  • Classroom Speakers and Mentorships are opportunities where students can meet with professionals to better understand the world of work. Often, these experiences are in the classroom and professionals can directly give career advice and industry insights. 
  • Curriculum Writing and Advisory Board Participation allows employers to have a direct hand in what students are trained and educated in. Working with educators, employers can share their insights on the skills and certifications that are most needed in -their field. 
  • Student Site Visits and Shadowing allows employers to open their doors and demonstrate their day-to-day operations. Programs like job shadowing give students a chance to see what a specific job is really like, while a workplace tour can highlight a variety of jobs offered at a business. 

What are some of the benefits of partnering?

    • Increase visibility and brand recognition – Working with a school can expand your potential market or customer base. Supporting students’ education and long-term goals can help you reach other students, parents, educators and members of the community. 
    • Additional sales – Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to patronize good business stewards – companies who have a presence and help their local community. 
    • View potential employees in action – Internships provide the opportunity to observe potential candidates’ performance before hiring. You can assess if they “fit” with your organization and preview their abilities. 
    • Enhance your staff’s supervisory skills – Allowing your staff to take on the responsibility of mentoring students in the classroom, after school, or during an internship can enhance your staff’s leadership and management skills and improve teamwork and efficiency on other projects. 
    • Cut down on recruitment and retention costs – Hiring interns who have an established history with your company can reduce your training and recruitment costs.  According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the one-year retention rate for intern hires with internal experience is 12% higher than those without internship experience.  
    • Have a direct hand in student education – Employers will contribute to the job training and education of current students, or future job seekers, ensuring they will have the employability skills to succeed in the workforce. 

Who should I contact if I want to partner with a college or university?

The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education includes a directory of the state’s colleges and universities. Check out Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (nj.gov) for more details.  

New Jersey’s research institutions also provide research partnerships with various businesses. For additional support, contact: 

What are some of the questions employers should ask when looking to partner?

Employers should ask both potential  college and university partners and themselves these questions in order to ensure an effective and lasting partnership. 

  • What do I hope to get out of this partnership? How much time and/or resources can I and/or my business commit to this partnership? 
  • What does the college and its students hope to gain from this partnership?  
  • Does the desired school already offer a program or an initiative I can support? 
  • Are there other employers within my field or in the local community partnering with the same school? 
  • Who would be liable if something happened during the time I am able to commit? 

For more information, contact:

If you need additional information, please contact NJBIA’s Member Action Center at 1-800-499-4419, ext. 3 or member411@njbia.org. 

Updated: March 3, 2022